Given my letter for the day, I thought about writing about my new home state, Georgia. However, the “g” word that resonates most with me at the moment is “good-bye” (though a few others are scattered through the post as well).
I’ve been saying “good-bye” to a lot of people, places, and things lately. The things I’ve let go without much trouble. Many of them had felt heavy to me anyway, and I was ready to pass them on to someone else who could use or love them. Saying good-bye to places has been a bit harder. I have only a few more days in my house in Michigan, and I know driving away after all my belongings have disappeared in the moving van will make me sad and weepy. But saying good-bye to people—that’s the hardest of all. Even when I know we can keep in touch via telephone, text, email, Skype, FaceTime, and visits. With over 800 miles separating us, we won’t be getting together for impromptu dinners, drinks, or movies anymore.
I’ve often said that many of the best things in life are like the best chocolate: bittersweet. And that’s how this time in my life feels. I am grateful for the opportunity that has opened in my life and occasioned my move to Atlanta. At the same time, I grieve for the life I am leaving behind. The older I get, the more I realize that each choice we make offers both opportunity and loss. For every path taken, another is discarded. Every joy holds inside it the seed of grief, as every grief holds inside it the seed of joy.
I am reminded of the Hindu god Ganesh—read more about Ganesh at my earlier post here—who is both the giver and remover of obstacles. The obstacles we face often hold within them the secret to their removal—and sometimes the obstacles themselves are gifts of sorts.
I guess all of this is to say that life and emotions are complicated. The more we live, the more we engage with this life we are in, the more we see that joy doesn’t exclude pain and loss; it encompasses them. We don’t find happiness by pushing away pain, but by embracing it as a necessary part of living an embodied life. We are happy not “instead of” sad, but “in spite of” or “as well as.”
So, my good-byes contain both gratitude and grief. And a seed of gratitude lives within the grief itself, for I am grateful to have had in my life—for however long—that person, place, or thing whose loss I now grieve.
I am beginning to think that those intertwined emotions of gratitude and grief are the source of growth.
What about you? What are you grateful for? What are you grieving?
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I am the author of the New Adult/Young Adult urban fantasy series, The Light-Bringer:
I have also contributed stories (one fictional and one true) to the following volumes:
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